Trudeau, Ford set bad example for country: justice minister

OTTAWA — Justice Minister Peter MacKay lumped Liberal leader Justin Trudeau together with beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, saying neither helps shed Canada in a favourable light.

“Both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Ford, who have admitted to using drugs while in office … do not set a very high standard or example for the country,” MacKay said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark.

MacKay offered only very brief answers when asked about Ford, a Conservative who has made heads around the world spin after admitting to having smoked crack, buying illegal drugs while in office, driving while drunk and for using sexually explicit language while speaking with media.

“It sets a very poor example. There’s no question about it,” MacKay said.

When asked whether Ford is fit for public office, the justice minister said only that Toronto is dealing with that question right now.

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The minister had no shortage of criticism for Trudeau, however, who he lashed out at last week, accusing the Liberal leader of promoting recreational pot use in front of school children.

Trudeau was in Brandon, Man. to prop up his Liberal candidate in the upcoming byelection. During the visit, the leader stopped by a public school in Sioux Valley, where he was asked about his party’s proposed policy on marijuana legalization.

The Liberal leader, who MacKay described as an “over-40 flower child,” was said to have expressed that marijuana use is bad for children and the best way to keep the drug away from young Canadians is to have the government control it.

Still, the Conservatives pounced on Trudeau, accusing him of promoting drug use to the elementary and high school children.

“It’s one thing to espouse policies of legalization of marijuana,” MacKay said Sunday. “But to go into a school where you have children at an elementary level, a First Nations school in Brandon, and espouse legalization of marijuana … I think is appalling, inappropriate.”

Trudeau in August admitted to having smoked pot while sitting as an MP.

One of Mackay’s caucus colleagues, Ontario MP Scott Reid, recently discussed his support for legalizing marijuana while speaking to Grade 10 students at an Ontario school.

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According to a local media report from September, Reid spoke to the students at Granite Ridge Education Centre in September on a number of topics, including laws surrounding pot. He told the students he favours legalization.

MacKay was dismissive of drawing a parallel between Trudeau and Reid, suggesting the students in Reid’s case were older.

“I disagree with Scott Reid. But he’s not a leader, he’s not in a position to ever change the law,” MacKay said. “But Mr. Trudeau is espousing this for the entire country. It’s something he says, if he’s elected, would change.”

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